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Job Ad: ILPA is recruiting for a Legal and Parliamentary Officer


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Job title: Legal and Parliamentary Officer

Organisation: Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)

Duration: Permanent

Location: Hybrid / London

Annual leave: 25 days per annum

Salary: £32,000 to £35,000 depending on skills and experience

Working Hours: 35 hours per week, plus a lunch break (NB evening working is required to attend any scheduled evening meetings, which ordinarily finish no later than 7pm).  Applications for flexible working/part time working will be considered.

Start date: As soon as possible

Application deadline: 9am on Tuesday 29 August 2023.

Interviews will be held on 5 and 6 September 2023. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by 1 September 2023.

Applications from individuals only – no agencies.

How to apply: Please submit a completed ILPA application form and equalities monitoring form to recruitment@ilpa.org.uk as a Word document or in another editable format.

About the role:

The Legal and Parliamentary Officer sits at the heart of ILPA’s policy and advocacy work.

The Legal and Parliamentary Officer is part of the Legal Team (which includes the Legal Director and Legal Officer). In this role, you will work closely with the rest of the ILPA Secretariat, including the Chief Executive, Content and Digital Channels Manager, Strategic Legal Projects Manager, Training Officer, and with Trustees, ILPA members, and co-convenors of ILPA’s Working Groups.

The Legal and Parliamentary Officer will work alongside the Legal Officer (who works on both policy and the coordination of strategic litigation) to support ILPA’s advocacy work to influence immigration, asylum and nationality law, policy, and practice, to ensure the smooth running of our Working Groups, and to ensure effective communication of legal and policy developments.

You will represent ILPA in meetings and work collaboratively with colleagues across the sector in pursuit of ILPA’s influencing aims. For example, you will help draft and edit parliamentary briefings, responses to consultations and calls for evidence, and official correspondence with government bodies.

You will regularly analyse information, including legal and practice updates, and disseminate information orally and in writing to the public and to ILPA members. You will need to have a good understanding of the law and relevant systems to understand how to make recommendations for their improvement.

You will assist with answering ILPA members’ legal, policy, and practice-based queries, raise issues with government departments as appropriate, and provide flexible, tailored technical and practical support for practitioners and non-practitioners, who include public bodies, professional organisations and non-governmental organisations. You will also support the organisation and running of ILPA’s thematic and regional Working Groups, which provide a valuable forum for ILPA members to share best practice and discuss issues of current importance.

About you:

The position would suit a self-motivated individual who is passionate about the sector and is looking to pursue a career in immigration policy or advocacy, including by making the transition from immigration practice or taking a break from practice to work on immigration policy.

You may be keen to be working at the heart of the systemic changes following Brexit, the Government’s New Plan for Immigration agenda, the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 provisions, plans to remove individuals to Rwanda or house them on barges, and the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

This post will give you exposure to firms, chambers, and NGOs across the spectrum of immigration, asylum and nationality law, as well as those shaping policy in the UK and beyond. In this role, you will stay close enough to practice to return to it if that is what you want to do, or have the opportunity to build or develop a successful career in influencing work.

Given the complexity of immigration, asylum and nationality law, we do not expect applicants to have expertise in every area, but a good understanding of it and excellent critical analysis skills are key. Any successful applicant will be able to attend ILPA training, subject to capacity, to further their knowledge.

Main responsibilities:

  1. To liaise, work with, and gather evidence from members to support ILPA’s influencing work and to assist with knowledge-sharing in the sector;
  2. To assist the Legal Team to influence law and policies through written and oral advocacy;
  3. To coordinate, contribute to, and run internal and external Legal Team meetings, which may have a range of attendees including ILPA members, government officials, parliamentarians, experts, lawyers, and other external organisations and individuals;
  4. To provide support to ILPA’s thematic working groups, including by attending evening meetings, and working with the Secretariat to take forward agreed actions;
  5. To handle queries related to the Legal Team, sent by members and others where appropriate, such as by forwarding these on to relevant individuals and drafting responses;
  6. To monitor, identify, store, organise, interrogate, retrieve and disseminate information, including legal and policy developments, relevant to ILPA’s work;
  7. To support ILPA’s external communications;
  8. To support production of the ILPA weekly mailing, and other publications / news updates.

Person Specification

Essential skills, experience, and qualities:

  • A law degree, postgraduate qualification in law, or other relevant qualification in law, or currently studying for such a degree or qualification;
  • Very good legal knowledge, skills and judgment and an ability to communicate these clearly;
  • Work experience and/or lived experience, of immigration, asylum and nationality law in the UK;
  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to communicate legal and technical information orally and in writing;
  • Experience of building and managing effective professional relationships with a range of people, with demonstrable ability to communicate effectively in challenging situations;
  • Excellent planning, coordination, organisation and time management skills;
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines;
  • Ability to take a proactive approach to independent working within the ILPA team, managing workstreams effectively, and the confidence to take responsibility for tasks and decisions;
  • Ability to think strategically and take a calm and diligent approach to problem-solving;
  • Commitment to the principles of a non-racist, non-sexist, just, and equitable system of immigration, asylum and nationality law;
  • Commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion, and taking a proactive approach to espousing these principles; and
  • Commitment to be a champion of ILPA by positively encouraging your team, identifying and encouraging opportunities for growth, and celebrating success.

Desirable experience:

  • Experience of working with parliamentarians (gained in or outside of Parliament) and knowledge of Parliamentary procedure and business practices.

About the team: 

We are a small team of 6 full-time and 4 part-time staff. We all work partly from our office near Old Street and partly from home.

About the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association:

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) is a charity and a professional association the majority of whose members are barristers, solicitors, advocates and OISC regulated advisers practising in all aspects of immigration, asylum and nationality law. Academics, non-governmental organisations and individuals with a substantial interest in the law are also members.

Founded in 1984 by leading practitioners in the field, ILPA exists to promote and improve advice and representation in immigration, asylum and nationality law, through an extensive programme of training and disseminating information and by providing research and opinion that draw on the experiences of members. ILPA is represented on numerous government, official and non-governmental advisory groups and regularly provides evidence to parliamentary and official inquiries.

The Secretariat does not give advice to members of the public on individual cases but works closely with members to ensure that they are enabled to do their best for their clients. It runs ILPA’s busy training programme and produces a wide range of information for members and non-members.

The objectives of ILPA are:

  • To promote the advising and representation of immigrants;
  • To provide information to members and others on domestic and European immigration, asylum and nationality law; and
  • To secure a non-racist, non-sexist, just and equitable system of immigration, asylum and nationality law practice.

ILPA is an equal opportunities employer. We acknowledge that the legal and charitable sector can be less accessible to people from minoritised or racialised communities and lower socio-economic backgrounds, and we are committed to unsettling the status quo. In this role you will wear many hats and we recognise that the successful candidate may not have all the skills and experience listed in the personal specification. We welcome an application from you if you can see yourself in this role and have an appetite to gain new skills, knowledge and experience. We encourage applications from individuals who have lived experience of the UK immigration or asylum systems, or the hostile environment.

We also encourage applications from people who have previously unsuccessfully applied for roles at ILPA. We will consider each application afresh. We appreciate that individuals are always learning, growing, and adding to their knowledge and experience.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.